How To Successfully Navigate A PR Crisis
Managing a public relations crisis is difficult when running a small brick-and-mortar business and is an experience many companies hope to avoid. Something as little as a single negative review on social media or your website can impact your business significantly. However, several pieces of research show that businesses that promptly respond to a PR crisis are more likely to recover quicker than those that don't. For this reason, it is practical to proactively manage potential PR crises to safeguard your brand and credibility. This article discusses four tips for successfully navigating a PR crisis.
1. Respond swiftly and sincerely
In the age of social media, information spreads like wildfire. In a PR crisis, it is crucial to respond quickly and sincerely to prevent the situation from escalating. Don't shy away from taking ownership of the issue and communicating your remorse where appropriate. You immediately demonstrate your commitment to upholding your brand's values and ethics by promptly addressing the situation. A typical example is the case of Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of Tylenol, swiftly removing 31 million bottles from stores and ceasing production and advertising of the medication. The company offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the perpetrator's arrest. Although no offender was apprehended, their swift response saved the company from what could have been a devastating PR disaster.
Always have a plan in place
Before a crisis occurs, create a detailed plan outlining how your company will respond in the event of negative press. It can be damaging to suffer a PR disaster without a plan. Create a plan detailing your crisis management team, response procedures, and communication channels. Protocol is critical to the success of your crisis response operations, so ensure each crisis team member understands their roles and knows whether to be proactive or reactive in their response to the issues. By having a plan in place, you can act quickly and efficiently while reducing the impact of the crisis.
Work with PR professionals
Managing a public relations issue requires having certain skills and knowledge to emerge unscathed. As a small business owner, you are likely handling many business functions and may not have all the required skills to cover every area without mistakes. Yet, with PR, there may be no second chances, so you must get things right on the first try. Consider working with crisis management PR pros to guarantee the matter is handled quickly and efficiently. For example, a top professional employer organization (PEO) with seasoned experts may offer strategic counsel on mitigating the PR fallout from a lawsuit, depending on your location. Suppose you run part of your business from locations like Malta. Some firms can help you with services like employee administration tasks and Malta Employer of Record.
Be transparent and monitor your social media
When dealing with a PR crisis, transparency is key. Share as much information as possible with your audience to demonstrate your commitment to resolving the issue. Honesty fosters trust, whereas hiding or misrepresenting the truth can damage your reputation and further escalate the crisis. Since social media plays a key role in shaping public perception, you may monitor your social media platforms for mentions of your brand and engage in active conversation with your audience. Address concerns, questions, and negative feedback as they arise to demonstrate your responsiveness and commitment to customer satisfaction.